10/31/17 Prospect Report: Mississippi River (Ohio River to Arkansas)

The lower Mississippi River offers a variety of fishing opportunities.  Catfish angling should be very good in the portion of the river below the confluence of the Ohio River. Spring electrofishing surveys showed that anglers can expect approximately 15 percent of the blue catfish will be over 30 inches and 20 percent of the flathead catfish will be over 30 inches. Blue catfish can be caught in the spring through the summer off the tips of dikes, in the large eddies above the dikes, and rough on riveted banks along the river channel. Flathead catfish are also common on the tips of wing dikes, along riprap banks with swift currents, and near woody debris. When water temperatures in the fall begin to drop anglers should focus their efforts in the deeper holes. Catfish anglers can also be extremely successful during the spawning season if water levels are high enough to have significant flow in the side channels with flooded woody debris. Blue and flathead catfish populations offer the opportunity to catch a trophy fish over 40 pounds. Live baits work well for both flathead catfish and blue catfish. Cut bait also works very well for blue catfish.  Channel catfish can be found around snags, shallow low-velocity sand bars and backwater areas. Methods including rod and reel, trot lines, and jugs can be quite successful in catching all three species catfish.

White bass can be found in schools around wing dikes in spring and fall and can also be caught while they are moving into the large tributaries in the spring. An occasional striped bass or hybrid striped bass may be caught along with white bass. Crappie fishing should be fair during late winter and spring when there is enough water in the side channels and tributaries.  For additional information pertaining to the river, please call the phone number above or email Dave Knuth at dave.knuth@mdc.mo.gov.